From left: Iva Dimitrova (director), Allison Krausman (editor), Trey Leonard (producer), Casey Hammons (cinematographer, music supervisor

EMST students win national short-documentary competition

A short documentary created by EMST students Trey Leonard (producer), Iva Dimitrova (director), Casey Hammons (cinematographer, music supervisor), and Allison Krausman (editor) has won First Place in a national competition.

They completed their film in Spring 2017 as part of the course requirements of EMST 5270, “Documentary Production,” taught by Melissa Jackson.

The filmmaking competition, Stories from the Line, is administered by Impact America in collaboration with the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility at The University of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The film crew will receive $10,000 in scholarship funds for their achievement.

Rickey’s Story from Stories from the Line on Vimeo.

The film portrays Athens, Ga. resident Rickey Morris. After getting sick, losing his long-term trucking job and falling into homelessness, today he’s taking care of his health and working to get back on his feet.

“I can’t be more proud of the crew and the course instructor,” said Dr. Jay Hamilton, Head of the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies. “It’s amazing how they created and produced a short documentary of this quality in the process of learning the fundamentals of documentary filmmaking.”

In addition to documenting how Morris is turning his life around, the student crew also overcame their own challenges in documentary filmmaking. Dimitrova commented on the need for “maintaining flexibility while shooting on location, and crafting a coherent and compelling story arc through the editing process.”

“These students honored their interview subject’s story ethically and journalistically,” said Jackson. “They learned valuable production and life lessons that they will carry into future careers as documentarians.”

Leonard agreed. Morris’s “resilience and determination to get back on his feet was one of the most inspiring experiences of my life, and solidified the kind of stories I want to tell moving forward as a filmmaker.”

Date: July 14, 2017
Author:  Jay Hamilton,
Contact:  Melissa Jackson,